Shilin Official Residence 士林官邸
The former residence of Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Soong Mei-ling, the Shilin Official Residence is a designated historical site open to the public as a museum celebrating their accomplishments as well as their contributions to the growth of Taiwan in the modern era.
Besides the main residence, other buildings within the compound include the guesthouse, Victory Chapel, Ciyun Pavilion, and numerous gardens open to the public.
Hours of operation are from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30AM to noon (tickets until 11:40), and 1:30PM to 5PM (tickets until 4:40PM).
Admission tickets are sold for NT$100 each.
Audio tours are available for free, with a deposit of either NT$3,000 or, more realistically, leaving an ID at the front desk.
Visitors interested in Taiwanese and Chinese history are highly encouraged to visit the official residence.
Some interesting items within the residence include a large amount of imports from the United States, including multiple Magnavox-branded television sets (very popular in the US during the 1960s-80s), Bible-related artefacts, a large vinyl record collection, a projector in the small living room for entertaining guests (which was sometimes merged with the Banquet Hall to form a small movie theatre), and a large array of other personal and interesting anti-communist items such as a 反共勝利棋 chess game.
President Chiang's den was modified later in his life to serve as a bedroom so that he could be cared for when he became feeble. He passed away in this room in the presence of his family in April, 1975.
Victory Chapel was completed in 1949, and was used as the place of worship. Besides the president and first lady, General Chang Hsueh-liang, General Ho Ying-chin (and their wives), as well as United States Presidents Eisenhower and (then VP) Nixon attended services at this chapel.
On display is Soong Mei-ling's large clothing and accessory collection (she was very highly regarded politically, American-educated, and well known for her strengths in soft diplomacy, and also comparable in fashion sense to American first lady Jackie O), including various western-influenced pieces and also Chinese-influenced pieces such as qipao 旗袍, and access to her painting room (Madame Chiang's Studio) where President Chiang often composed poetry to accompany her paintings.
Some simple notes to remember while visiting the complex include the lack of restroom facilities available for public use, banning of smoking throughout, and forbidding of photos while inside the official residence building.